United Diverse Artists 



In the Fall of 2014, myself and a number of diverse women artists and organizers got together to talk about disparities in the Baltimore arts community especially in regards to race, power, privilege and access. In an initial dinner conversation among this group, a few key issues were identified as needing to be addressed: gatekeeping and other forms of power exerted by mostly white arts institutions, arts administrators and arts leadership in Baltimore; barriers to access for funding, exposure and other types of support for communities of color and other marginalized groups in the city; a notable lack of diversity in artists included in cultural events, performances and exhibitions; and a similar reflection in venues and audiences. As our group concluded our first meeting, we decided to identify some concrete actions that we could take to make change. One of these was to work collaboratively as United Diverse Artists Inc. (UDA), to organize a panel discussion and event, with the aim of bringing artists and those with a stake in the arts community into a room to look at this issue.

In February 2015, UDA organized a panel discussion called “Art’part’heid: Bridging the Gap of Disparities in Baltimore’s Art Scene” at 2640/St. John’s Church in Baltimore. This panel discussion brought over 300 individuals from the arts community who listened to the stories and discussions amongst 10 panelists. This panel discussion was followed by a Q&A session and four breakout sessions in which guests compiled and reported action items addressing the topics we discussed. This conversation caused many ripples in the arts community and has helped to raise awareness about inequity in the arts. UDA created an online Facebook group called Artpartheid in which over 1,000 members have joined to share resources, job opportunities, and relevant articles. We are honored to have received so much recognition in Baltimore, including City Paper's Best "Overdue Conversation" in Baltimore's 2015 'Best Of' series.

The group continues to be led by it's original leading artists members and countless other allies in Baltimore, MD while I support from afar.

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